This time the crocodile won't wait
On May 12 I posted an article from TCSDaily.com entitled The Making of Londonistan -- my post you can read here, and the TCSDaily article you can read here. Today I'm posting an excellent review of this book by the always-readable Spengler. Here is his gloomy but realistic concluding paragraph: In that sense Melanie Phillips' book comes too late, for it reports a set of circumstances shortly to be overthrown by events. She is writing about 1938, and we are entering 1939, when the West will have to respond to an external challenge in a way that it never could to an internal threat. Britain will have the religious war it sought to dodge.
Asia Times Online :: Asian News, Business and Economy.
This time the crocodile won't wait
Londonistan by Melanie Phillips
Reviewed by Spengler
In retrospect, it seems oafish of Neville Chamberlain, Britain's prime minister in 1938, to have betrayed Czechoslovakia to Nazi rule in return for the empty promise of peace. Yet an overwhelming English majority looked with horror on the prospect of confrontation with Germany and a new world war, until Adolf Hitler forced England's hand by invading Poland. "The appeaser hopes the crocodile will eat him last," said Winston Churchill. Today's crocodiles may not be so patient.
Opposing voices in 1938 rang lonely and shrill, and just as shrill today sounds Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips in her portrayal of an emasculated Britain ashamed of its own national identity and anxious to appease the "clerical fascism" of the jihadis. That will change, perhaps even before the print is quite dry on her new book. She warns that the West faces a religious war with Islam. I concur, and recommend Londonistan as indispensable background.
Britain, Phillips warns, is reaping what it has sown. A large minority of British Muslims are disaffected at best and seditious at worst. Phillips cites a 2004 Home Office survey finding that 26% of British Muslims felt no loyalty to Britain, 13% supported terrorism, and about 1% (up to 20,000 individuals) were "actively engaged" in terrorism or support for terrorism.
Another poll found that 32% of British Muslims agreed that "Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end". In the event of a violent collision between the West and Iran, for example, civil conflict might arise in Britain on a scale resembling that in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.[....]
But that can explain only part of the story, and Phillips searches for deeper causes of Britain's cowardice. "Denial" is a recurrent theme. She cites an unnamed "foreign intelligence source" as follows:
During the 1990s, many attempts were made to enlighten the British about what was happening. But they refused to see this problem as having a religious character. If this was a religious problem, it became a religious confrontation - and the specter of a religious war was too horrendous. A religious war is different from any other war because you are dealing with absolute beliefs and the room for compromise is very limited. Religious wars are very protracted and bloody, and often end up with a very high toll of lives.
That is not denial, though, but revulsion. The British establishment may have recoiled in horror from the prospect of religious war precisely because it has sufficient institutional memory to know just what such wars entail. Religious war, however, is precisely what it will have, on the worst possible terms, and with an extensive fifth column in place. [....]
Phillips soft-pedals the imperial sins for which today's problems are part payment. As Phillips observes, the legacy of Britain's imperial past in the form of Northern Ireland distracted the security services' attention from the Islamist threat:
Instead of studying the Middle East as a cause for concern, they were staring across the Irish Sea at Northern Ireland, where a terrorist insurrection against the UK had been in progress since the 1970s. The mindset, on both sides of the Atlantic, was that terrorism was tied to discrete grievances against individual states. And with the end of the Cold War, the notion of a global threat rooted in ideology was assumed to be dead and buried.
But the Northern Ireland disaster was more than a distraction. Britain has a glorious past, and its role in defining individual rights and representative democracy is central to the success of the West. But real crimes can be laid at Britain's doorstep, including the mistreatment of the Irish over centuries. That does not excuse the thuggishness of the Irish Republicans, but it does help explain the moral palsy that afflicts today's British establishment. [....]
In any case, Western liberalism, including the sexual habits of English curates, does not appeal to Muslims. On the contrary, Phillips says:
British Muslims are overwhelmingly horrified and disgusted by the louche and dissolute behavior of a Britain that has torn up the notion of respectability. They observe the alcoholism, drug abuse and pornography, the breakdown of family life and the encouragement of promiscuity, and find themselves there in opposition to their host society's guiding values. What they are recoiling from, of course, is the breakdown of Western values. After a visit to the United States in 1948, Sayed Qutb wrote: "Humanity today is living in a large brothel!"
Revulsion and contempt color Muslim attitudes toward the British leftists who most desire to appease them. That is not a recipe for co-existence but for escalation, as last year's subway bombings should have made clear. But the issue now is not terrorism but rather outright war.
The British authorities may have turned a blind eye to terrorism directed against others, and may even have dragged their feet at confronting the terrorist threat at home that erupted in the July 7, 2005, subway bombings. Terrorism is dreadful but, like many nasty things, one can develop a tolerance for it. Now it is not merely terrorism that the West confronts but a strategic debacle of intolerable proportions in the form of Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons.
In that sense Melanie Phillips' book comes too late, for it reports a set of circumstances shortly to be overthrown by events. She is writing about 1938, and we are entering 1939, when the West will have to respond to an external challenge in a way that it never could to an internal threat. Britain will have the religious war it sought to dodge.